Artist residency presented by http://www.natuurkunstdrenthe.nl/en/2009
Endangered World: Life Wall
Over the period of the two week residence, Miami artist Xavier Cortada will build a wall using 360 glacial boulders and materials from Schoonoord's surrounding forest. On each boulder, Cortada will engrave/carve/paint/write the name of each of 360 endangered animals and the number of the longitudinal degree where it struggles for survival across the planet (the species are selected from the artist's North Pole Endangered World project, see http://www.xaviercortada.com/?EW_species).
As the artist speaks each animal's name onto the boulder, he will stack them one upon the other to build a wall (our survival/shelter) at the site.
Viewers are asked to imagine what would happen if the boulders were to be removed randomly one at a time. How many boulders (endangered species) could be removed before the whole wall (of life) comes tumbling down?
The premise is that all these endangered animals (along with the human species) are part of one larger interconnected ecosystem.
If their current rate of extinction surpasses their ability to adapt and evolve to a changing environment, life as we know it is as threatened as the tumbling wall. Human survival is ultimately dependent the preservation of the planet's biodiversity (which, due to global climate change, is threatened to be diminished by half before this century's end ).
Throughout the seven month exhibit, viewers are invited to commit themselves to preserving our biodiversity by participating in a ritual whereby they "adopt" one of the endangered animals.
Specifically, participants will:
Copyright 2008 Xavier Cortada
- See the "Life Wall" and select one among the 360 endangered animals for "adoption"
- Take a small boulder from a pile the artist will place next to the wall
- Write the endangered animal's name/species on the small boulder and take it home
- At home, with the boulder in hand, engage in an eco-act that helps preserve biodiversity (e.g.: make the home more sustainable to reduce global warming, planting a native tree to regrow native habitats, develop a project/campaign addressing biodiversity in your community) and state:
"I hereby adopt [name of the species] struggling for survival at [longitude] degrees."
- Photodocumenting the process (include the boulder in the picture) and upload the photo to a project page to be created on the artist's participatory website, www.xaviercortada.com